Back in 2009, on our way home to Manila from Los Angeles, mom and I got offered $800 each if we allowed ourselves to be bumped off from our current flight for one scheduled to leave the next day. At that point, I had been out of school for a week, and if I delayed any further, I could potentially max out my absences for this one class (that only allowed one absence for the whole term) and fail. So half-heartedly told my mom I couldn't, and that was that.
Except that wasn't that. My mom - who believes in fate and seizing opportunities - felt really bad for missing out on the chance. "If we took the deal, our trip to the U.S. would've been for free!" Multiply that guilt trip by about a hundred...it was that terrible for me emotionally. This was something I couldn't handle (add to the fact that the professor for the class I was so afraid to miss and fail didn't even show up, BAH!).
Anyway, when J and I got a similar deal from Delta on our way back to San Jose from Utah, I remembered my mom and her disappointed face. J left it up to me (the same way my mom did back then, although she probably didn't mean it) to decide which one of us would stay behind (Delta only needed one volunteer) to claim the $400 reward. Inasmuch as I hate being apart from J, I volunteered.
It wasn't so bad. I had my laptop, I had my Kindle, I had my meal voucher, and hey, I had my $400 redeemable air miles. Added bonus: the lady at the counter bumped me up to first class!
Okay, for those of you who frequently fly first class, you might say, meh, first class on Delta isn't that great...WHATEVER. First class is first class. And it was free. I wasn't going to complain.
I got assigned to seat 1A...the very first passenger in first class! The seats were extra cushy. The flight attendant wanted to take my jacket, but I refused. She also offered me a drink before take off, but I settled for water because I wanted to be sure I wasn't overstepping my privileges.
After perusing the magazine and texting J in a panic to ask if I indeed, could order booze for free, I finally got the courage to order my very first alcoholic beverage on a plane flight (I usually choose cranberry-apple or ginger ale because it's free). It was great! The guy next to me made eye contact, and since it was my first time in first class, I decided to be friendly to this stranger and told him it was my first time in first class. He made me feel more at ease and said that he only flies first class sometimes and that it was always a good experience. "They might even serve us a free meal!"
The flight wasn't long enough to warrant a free dinner (plus I already had dinner paid for by Delta before boarding), but first class did get more amazing snacks. AND THEY KEPT THEM COMING. They also kept the booze coming. I had three vodka tonics that night, hell yeah!
All in all, it was a great experience. I probably won't buy a first class plane ticket on my own any time soon (can't afford it), but if I ever get offered a chance to stay behind for one, I won't hesitate. :-)